FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution forward Teal Bunbury did not think Saturday’s 2-0 loss to league-leading LAFC was the end of the world. It did, however, break New England’s 11-game unbeaten run.
“I don’t think one game is a make-it-or-break-it game for us,” Bunbury said. “It’s disappointing because no one likes to lose and I think we’ve all had this good run, but sometimes you need a loss like this to kind of go back and get things in order and make sure we’re right mentally.”
The Revs (9-9-6, 33 points) remain seventh in the Eastern Conference and in the hunt for the 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. But their tough start to the season, which produced just eight points from their first 12 matches, leaves little room for dropped points. Six points separate second from seventh place in the East and New England are one point ahead of eighth-place Toronto FC.
“When you play this game, you realize that you don't win every game,” Revs sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena said. “It's challenging. I think at this point we can be pleased at the effort the guys have given and the progress we're making.”
Do the Revs need to sign additional players to augment that progress and push for the playoffs? Arena was noncommittal on whether the team would add a player prior to close of the Secondary Transfer Window on Wednesday.
“If it’s possible. We only have a couple days left to do that,” Arena said. “It’s possible, but I think everything I’m doing this year is to try to give us a plan for the future. There’s no reason to believe that we have to do everything now. We have the offseason to try to strengthen our roster.”
One area where the Revs are thin is at center back. Michael Mancienne has battled back from a foot injury and was on the bench Saturday for the first time in the Arena era. Either Mancienne or Jalil Anibaba could return to the starting XI alongside Andrew Farrell after Antonio Delamea left the game late in the second half with an apparent hamstring injury.
Farrell, who missed the opening portion of the season with an eye injury and moved from right back to the center, has been playing well, though Arena said he is still learning the position and would not commit to playing him there long-term.
“He has to be a center back right now,” Arena said of Farrell. “It’s been a little thin. You know, we’re really thin in the back, and Michael Mancienne was in our 18 tonight for the first time in, I would think, three or four months, I don’t even know. So, that’s good to get him back and now it looks like Toni is going to be out. So, Andrew’s certainly going to be playing in that position.”